Portraits of your pet created from your photos

Anna Bregman pet portraits

Commission a portrait of your pet directly from a photo, in graphite pencil, delicate watercolour, or traditional oils. As an experienced portrait artist based in London but working from customers’ photographs I am able to send out pet portraits all over the UK and abroad. I love drawing and painting animals and try to represent your pet’s character just as I would with a portrait of a person.

I always want my customers to be completely happy with the portrait they have commissioned, and provide an opportunity for them to see a scan of their artwork before sending it out to them. Read some customer feedback ››

commissioning a pet portrait – a quick summary of how the process works

Please have a read through this page and then if you have more questions or are ready to order your portrait, get in touch by phone or email and we can discuss the size and style of portrait that you’d prefer. When we’ve had a chat and sorted out the photo reference for me to work from (see more on this below) I will go ahead and start and when I think it might be nearly finished I will email over a scan of your portrait to see if there is anything you’d like me to alter or work on some more. I consider the portrait to be a real collaboration and am always happy to make any amendments until you are completely happy with it. For pencil portraits no payment is usually required until you’ve seen and approved your scan, whilst for paintings a 35% deposit is required – see the prices page for more information. When you are satisfied that your portrait is finished you can pay via internet banking, cheque or Paypal/credit card and I’ll send it straight out to you by tracked and insured special delivery.

Below – three stages of a pencil portrait of Jasper the dog.

Stages of a dog portrait

choosing a medium

You’ll first need to decide whether you want a portrait in pencil, watercolour, or oil paint – please click the links if you want to read more general information about each medium. You can browse through the pet portrait galleries by clicking the link above see examples of each. Pencil portraits are quicker to complete than watercolours and much quicker than oils – this may be a consideration if ordering a portrait for a gift. However if you’ve run out of time you can always buy a gift voucher. My contact page will give you a current estimate of waiting times.

what sort of photos I need to work from

Dog portrait reference
Pet portrait reference

Take some new photos of your pet, specifically for the portrait

For the best result, I’ll need a photo taken on a digital cameraphotos taken on a phone camera are not stuitable. This is because they are usually too small and pixillated when enlarged, and the lens quality is nowhere near that of a proper camera. You don’t need to be a good photographer or have a great camera – even the most basic digital camera will be much better than a phone! The clearer and closer the photo that you can give me to work from, the more detail I’ll be able to see in their fur and colouring (particularly important for a painting) and the better the portrait will be. It’s not possible for me to work from a too small, blurry or pixillated image – it does need to be a close-up like these examples. On the commissioning info page you’ll find lots of general information about how to do a little photoshoot to take photos for your portrait, but below are some tips specific to pet portraits.

For a memorial portrait of your pet I understand that you’ll only have your old photos available  –  if you are not sure whether these will be suitable for me to work from then get in touch and we can have a chat about it.

tips for taking photos of your pet for a portrait

•  Use a digital camera, not a phone camera

•  Take your photos out of doors, if at all possible. Natural light gives the sharpest and clearest photos – avoid artificial (evening) light indoors.

•  Photograph them as close-up as possible,  however if you would like a full-length portrait, try to remember not to cut off your pet’s feet!

•  If you don’t want your pet’s collar to appear in the portrait, it’s helpful if you can remove it for their photo

•  Don’t worry if they drool a bit! I can easily edit this out.

Once you’ve taken your photos, send your favourites over to me by email and we’ll have another chat about which one I should work from, if you don’t have a clear favourite. I make a fairly exact copy of one key image, however it’s useful to also see a few more photos showing of your pet’s appearance and colouring, and these other snaps don’t need to be particularly good quality as they are just for me to get a more balanced impression.

Framed horse portrait

advice on how to frame your pet portrait

I don’t offer framing, but am happy to advise you as to the type of frames that will suit your artwork. Here is a photo recently sent to me by a customer of her finished framed pencil portrait of her horse. It has been beautifully framed using an pale cream mount with a silver frame and silver-painted bevel to compliment the pencil tones.

Person and dog portrait

people and pet combination portraits

I love the idea of having a portrait of yourself or your child with a pet! This is a favourite customer of mine with her little dog Poppy, drawn in pencil at A3 size. She commissioned the portrait as a birthday gift to her father. If you’re interested in a person/pet portrait get in touch and I can give you a quote.

what size of portrait to choose

Costs for pencil or oil portraits in a variety of sizes can be viewed on the prices page. In terms of size, you may have a particular preference already (for example, if you have a large wall to fill) But in general, I would suggest that a head-and-shoulders portrait would be well suited to the smaller 10″ x 12″ size (similar to A4 but a little more rectangular) whereas a full-body portrait or multiple subjects will require at least a 14″ x 16″ size to give me enough space to complete all the detail of their features and fur. Remember that if you are ordering a drawing and have it framed with a mount (as in the photo below) this will add a bit of size to the frame overall. You can also have a square size roughly equivalent to any of these – square formats are particularly nice for head-and-shoulders portraits.

sending out your portrait

Oil paintings are securely packaged within stiff custom-cut MDF boards to protect the canvas from damage, before being double- wrapped in waterproof polythene packaging.

For pencil or watercolour portraits I first make a 300 dpi high resolution scan of your portrait to keep on file, so that you can come back to me at any time to order a gicleè print copy if you should want one. Pencil drawings are sprayed with fixative spray to prevent any of the graphite from rubbing off. I then put your portrait into a cellophane sleeve so that you can handle it safely until you are ready to put it into its frame. Lastely I place it flat within two MDF boards which will keep it flat and prevent any creasing or bending. Lastly it is wrapped within polythene to ensure that it stays dry.

For UK orders smaller portraits are usually sent out by Royal Mail Next Day Special Delivery. This is a tracked, insured service which requires a signature on delivery and I have used it for years with no problems or lost parcels, however your portrait will be fully insured in the mail just in case. Larger portraits and all international orders are shipped via UPS courier. You can read more about delivery options and postage costs on the prices page and full guarantees here.

You’ll find lots of information on how to frame a pencil portrait  or how to frame an oil portrait  by following the links. These pages include advice on how to take care of your portrait against environmental factors and to preserve it as long as possible with proper framing and hanging.

Extra prints block

extra prints

Framing guide
Portrait gift vouchers

gift vouchers

contact me

See current waiting times and get in touch

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